abbreviated, auction, auctioneer, auctioneers, auctions, bid calling, chant, contingency, contract, encouraging, entertaining, filler words, pleasing, publisize, slurred, the have, the next, the want, two numbers, what do auctioneers say
What do auctioneers say, when they are bid calling? I bet I’ve been asked that thousands of times since I became an auctioneer.
Auctioneers use bid calling to communicate in a legal, entertaining, encouraging manner with bidders who are in attendance at an auction. The bid calling actually binds bidders with the auctioneer’s client (the seller) with various contingencies as we discussed here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/does-bid-calling-form-contracts/ while asking others to bid against the bidder in contract to form a new contract.
Then also, the typical auctioneer uses bid calling to publicize to all bidders two basic numbers: the amount that is currently bid (known as the “have”) and the higher bid the auctioneer would like to accept (known as the “want”). In between these two numbers, the auctioneer uses filler words or sounds to make the bid calling sound pleasing, and entertaining to the crowd.
For example, if the current bid is $500 (the have) and the auctioneer is asking for $550 (the want), the bid calling might go like this:
- I’m at $500 n I wan $550, $550, bid on $550, I’m at $500 would you go $550, $550 …
Auctioneers typically note or announce the want between 70-80% of the time, and note the have about 20-30% of the time. Yet, these are only two of the three numbers the auctioneer has to keep in mind while bid calling.
Besides the have and the want, the auctioneer has to have a third number ready. When a bid comes in, the auctioneer has to immediately note now that the want has become the have, and there is a new want. This new want is the third number the auctioneer must have in mind at all times, and it is called “the next.”
Therefore, while bid calling, an auctioneer has in mind:
- The have
- The want
- The next
In our above example, while the auctioneer has $500 and is asking $550, the next might be $600, which the auctioneer will say aloud only when a bidder offers $550. At that moment, the $550 becomes the have and the next ($600) becomes the want (and a new next is calculated, but kept filed away — probably $650)
Not coincidentally, the next is usually the same amount more than the want as the want is more than the have. In our example, the have is $500 and the want is $550 (a $50 difference) so the next would typically be $600 ($50 more than the want)
What are these filler words or sounds between the numbers? When auctioneers first learn to bid call, these filler words are fairly easy to distinguish, such as “bid to buy them,” or “do you want it here?” or “somebody give me” …
Then later, after an auctioneer has refined and practiced his bid calling, those filler words become more like sounds, as they are abbreviated or slurred, for example: “b t em” or “do wan her” or “sbody give m.”
What do auctioneers say? They say what they have and what they want, and they fill in with sounds to make their bid calling easy, and entertaining to listen to.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.
Heather Kaspar said:
Hi there! I´ve decided that I want to become an auctioneer and have stumbled across your blog several times. It is very informative, which is what I need right now. I´ll be going to Auction School in October and just can´t wait! I´ve helped out at a few fundraising auctions-just to make sure I like it. I also have a blog, if you ever want to check it out. Thanks!!
Roy Gilliland said:
Why do the British and most auction houses like Antiquorum use a different technique that does not slur the words or make sounds between the have, the want and the next? They seem to be much more understandable.
Roy, the answer is due mostly to tradition. Too, when the United States was settled, those early auctioneers no doubt wanted to distinguish themselves from English auctioneers.
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Clarity is the key no doubt
Brian Sommers said:
Yeah, that is what I keep reading.. bottom line.. it doesn’t matter how fast/cool you sound if no one can understand where you are at or the numbers your calling.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE said:
Thanks for taking a look at my blog.
I would highly recommend auction school, and note that depending upon the state(s) you wish to operate, it may be mandatory.
Being an auctioneer is much more than live bid calling, although bid calling is a material component.
Auction school covers staffing, contracts, ethics, setup, settlement, ring work, online auctions, advertising and marketing, types of auctions, bankruptcy and probate matters, health issues, etc.
Lastly, “able” is generally seen as a good filler word, but “get” is not. Try to avoid any words starting with a “g.”
Brian Sommers said:
very helpful,, thanks for the “g” tip.. yeah.. I like it better already..
able to bid a …that rolls really great.
I heard an auctioneer use “you better bid a” …
Brian Sommers said:
very nice.. I would like to go to auctioneering school, but not sure if I could really put it off, I’m learning from things I pick up on the internet as well as listening to other auctioneers.. the thing that blows me is how in the world do you get the crazy speed? This is very helpful, I like “able to get” when spoken fast, you can roll the “able” sound very easy..
now 20, now 20. able to get a 20 dollar bid, 20 dollar bid, 2,2,2,2, 20 dollar bid, etc, etc etc.
I’ve been drilling this and variations on this daily, just for fun.
I recently attended an auction where the auctioneer kept saying something that sounded like “cinnamon on the money.” I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what he was saying! Any idea? 😉
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE said:
Actually, that might be what he is saying. An auctioneer’s chant might start out as “Somebody give me” and end up “Sumby gvme” or the like.
I’ve owned my own car dealership for more than 11 years. The auctioneers at the car auctions are the worst! Most of them couldn’t care less about clarity; it’s shameful. Their gibberish noise BS is not entertaining, it simply masks underhanded deeds. There have been a few disputed transactions, but auctions now record the auctioneer. They play back audio has come to my aid three times! Car auctioneers can be an underhanded lot! I was selling a car once; the auctioneer was “recognizing” each bidder & the price kept climbing! It hit my low (reserve amount), so I said “sell it”! The auctioneer fessed up that there weren’t any bidders, so no sale. He was just trying to trick the potential buyers. Him & the “ring men” put on a show to scam the buyers by pretending to receive bids. And people go to auction schools to learn to be terrible (shameful) communicators?! Boggles my mind!
Robert weir said:
That was the auctioneer working hard to get your goods sold at or above your obviously untenable reserve, it is not Underhand nor illegal it is part of the job of an auctioneer to get bids above your reserve if no one comes into bid then the auctioneer passes the lot up as unsold this is done in most forms of live public auction otherwise their would be no control of the value of an item.
Charlotte Fleet said:
I am glad you mention that auctioneers use bid calling to communicate in a legal way with bidders in attendance. My husband and I are hosting an auction since his parents passed away and left us all of their items. I think we should find an auctioneer who can help us have a successful auction for everyone in attendance.
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